Fatshion Bloggers Make Plus-Size Chic
This story was produced in partnership with The Daily Beast.
Short of having a bucket of blood dumped over your head at prom, few things compare to the humiliation of being the only customer browsing the racks of an overpriced lingerie store and hearing the painfully chic saleswoman — who’d begrudgingly buzzed you in — loudly proclaim, “I wish people would realize we don’t stock sizes larger than a medium.”
Anyone who’s ever attempted to shop at a schmancy boutique in a body that’s larger than a size 10 already knows that buying big-girl garb requires a skin that’s nearly as thick as your waistline. Fat-loathing is the last acceptable prejudice, and nowhere is that more pronounced than in the world of fashion.
"I have a genuine hatred reserved for cut-out shoulders, drawstring waists, loud prints, cargo pants, waterfall cardigans and hanky hems," says 28-year-old British blogger Lauren Ding. “It’s so difficult to find something that is not only my style, but that fits well.”
Which may account for the recent explosion of so-called “fatshion" blogging — the tag used by hordes of plus-size bloggers who are melding the two worlds. Until recently, fashion blogging had been the domain of straight-sized women. But sick of being ignored by fashion mags and relegated to sack dresses with screeching prints, a growing number of women — unapologetically plump, and tired of being treated like third-class citizens — are taking their musings online. They post OOTDs (outfits of the day) and ruminate on body positivity. Many of them, as a backdrop to skinny models storming the runways of New York Fashion Week, have started calling this month “Fatshion February" — and are blogging aggressively in its honor.
"I treat blogging as a form of therapy," says Meg Pronko, a blogger from the Netherlands who posts photos of herself in varying outfits as a way to “get at ease with your body and accept it.” “I reject the notion that since you are fat, you are condemned to wear unattractive clothing.”
Unlike “thinspo” blogs that feature aspirational photos of the scary-skinny, fatshion blogs use their authors as models. With titles like Fatty Unbound, Fat Shopaholic, FuckYeahChubbyFashion, In the Thick of It — along with Pronto’s own Fatshion Daily — these women are reclaiming the word “fat” and hoping to remove at least some of its stigma. After all, we know the irony: Despite more than 50 percent of American women being size 14 and above, models, magazines, and clothing stores remain largely the domain of the 00. Most stores rarely stock above a size 12.
But can’t unabashed fat and fashion go together, too?
"Too often, we’re told that if you’re above a certain size, you should dress to look slimmer and hide the bits you don’t like," says Diane Dennis, of Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too. “I just want to say, ‘To hell with all that — I’m FAT! I like nice clothes and I’m not hiding from anyone.’”
Fatshion advocates may not be changing the runways just yet — Vogue’s yearly nod to “real” bodies in their “Shape” issue has yet to feature a plus-sized cover model — but they are working to create their own looks. Some host clothing swaps, both IRL and online, while others have online stores. And others collaborate on resale blogs devoted to curvy customers (there’s Fatsale, FatshionXchange, and even a Facebook page called FatToo where you can buy, sell, and trade clothing over size 20).
Kirsty Fife, the blogmistress of Fatty Unbound, sells handmade circle skirts on Etsy, while Aboulhosn hawks things she no longer wears. Nadia Aboulhosn, a blogger who burst on the scene after winning American Apparel’s XL model search, has used the traction she gained there to fulfill a longtime dream: creating her own plus-size fashion line. And Ding, the blogger from Britain, was was recently asked by UK plus-sized clothing line Simply Be to design an outfit. She says it’s inspired by the women she sees on Tumblr who are “bright, brash, and brassy.” She explains, “I wanted to make something that they could wear and kick ass in!”
It can be a slog, and yet most of the women interviewed here view blogging as a way to feel less isolated and build a sense of community. “The best part is the enormous outpouring from women who tell me how much I’ve helped them begin accepting themselves,” says Aboulhosn. “That to me is the biggest life changer.”
12 Fatshion Blogs You Should Be Following
- FATSHION DAILY - A sassy look at European plus-size fashions.
- THE MANFATTAN PROJECT - Plus-sized fashionistas on the streets of NYC.
- A THICK GIRL’S CLOSET - Celebrating plus-size one closet at a time.
- FUCK YEAH CHUBBY FASHION - Nuff said.
- FATTY UNBOUND - A British blog with a focus on bargain.
- GARNER STYLE - Shopping guidance, styling tips, and fearless fat positivity.
- GIRL WITH CURVES - Outfit inspiration, how-tos, and general body positivity.
- PASHTEIT - Described as “A Tumblr for my outfits.”
- A CURIOUS FANCY - Fat, fanciful, and whimsical.
- FAT SHOPAHOLIC - Shopping tips and style advice from the Heartland.
- FAT GIRLS LIKE NICE CLOTHES TOO - Photos, DIY and an extensive “fatshion” blogroll.
- ON THE PLUS SIDE - The blog of plus-size model Heather Hazzan.
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